Ethics essays: How to Select a Topic
The ethics essay is going to present an interesting challenge to students of all levels. The actual writing process is much the same as any other sort of essay. A student gets an idea, collects information, writes a rough draft and then fine tunes it into a final copy. However when it comes to an ethics essay the author is required to choose a specific position and argue for it. This process involves presenting all sides of the issue, including those that are the opposite of yours. The author must refute these arguments one by one and maintain the ethical stance that the paper is written around. Choosing a topic for one of these special essays can be difficult because it must be something that a student can defend.
Start Broad and then Narrow it Down
Some classes will assign the topics that a student can write an ethics paper about. However many teachers will want students to choose a topic that is familiar to them, they believe in and already know quite a bit about. This topic should start out as a broad topic that can be broken down into a more specific investigation. For example, a student may start out with a topic like abortion, but have to narrow that down to something much more specific. Otherwise they may have to write a book to explain their ethical journey. The specific issue will be determined from combining your interests and your experiences to the point that you are making a more specific argument. Rather than the broad topic of abortion, it can be narrowed into topics like, abortion after rape or abortion as a form of birth control. One thing an ethics essay wants to avoid is just painting a broad picture and never investigating the details of an issue.
The writing process will allow you to refine your topic to an even more narrow choice as a writer works through the process. Much like a minor digging for gold, it is going to be a continuous search for the value in the topic, and it most always is as valuable to do this.
Take Chances, Change your Mind
Writing an essay on ethics should provide a student with an opportunity to expand their mind and stretch their thoughts in a positive way. Choosing a stance and creating an argument to support it is going to help define not only what the student thinks but what they stand for. It is important to enter the process with a sense of flexible conviction. Take a stance about an issue, but be smart enough and flexible enough to follow the evidence to a place that is consistent with your beliefs.